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The Screaming Vortex is the campaign setting for Black Crusade, the Warhammer 40,000 role-playing game. In this RPG, the player characters are high-powered traitors following the Chaos gods. Within that setting, the Death Priests of Mire are a playable type of disciple of Chaos that worship Nurgle.
Sorcerers within the Screaming Vortex show their devotions to the Ruinous Powers in a variety of different ways. Some travel beyond its boundaries to aggressively recruit new followers to the ways of Chaos, thus granting their cruel sponsors more followers. Others choose a path of devotion to a particular deity, embracing everything that lord offers. Yet others devote every moment of their time to uncovering lost secrets and discovering new information. For these Heretics, the source of the lore is far less important than the knowledge and the power it represents.
Plague Priest of Mire: These Heretics are dedicated to spreading the influence of their dark sponsors through the gift of his pestilence, making their home on the pestilential world of Mire deep within the Vortex. Through their link to the Immaterium, these potent psykers invoke the glories of the Lord of Decay upon their unwitting opponents. As the Dark God's diseases take hold, the Plague Priest's foes often become the latest additions to his army. As these new followers embrace the ways of Chaos, the Sorcerer's potency grows with additional blessings from his dark sponsor.
Sorcerer King: In some cases, a Sorcerer seeks to hold worldly power in conjunction with his stores of arcane knowledge and ability. For these Heretics, an army of followers offer more direct solutions to obtain hidden knowledge - and protection from others who might seek to take the treasures that they have acquired. Sorcerers who follow this path often maintain a holding within the Screaming Vortex, where they can store their arcane resources and mentor their disciples. These rulers may then venture forth from their holdings to retrieve artefacts and components for their rituals that they undertake in the names of the Ruinous Powers.
Beyond Melancholia is to be found the world of Mire - a fetid, clammy planet of swamps and endless plains of sucking mud. The inhabitants grub about the stinking depths of the mud flats for what little sustenance they can find, ever encrusted with layer upon layer of hard-packed filth. So scarce are sources of nutrition on Mire that when even the smallest grub or root is uncovered, entire tribes go to war with one another. Incoherent and barbarous, the savages brain one another with precious rocks or pull one another down into the cold depths where they share a hideous, mutual demise.
On several occasions, warlords have taken tribes of Mirens away, forcing them to serve as slave-warriors in their hordes. Mirens make brutally effective foot soldiers and are known for their propensity to rip open the bellies of those they have slain, plunging their arms inside the corpses in search of the choicest meats denied them on the world of their birth.
"After disembowelling Sergeant Makrx, those things fell on him like ravenous hounds, their filthy hands tearing bloody chunks of meat from his ruined gut. I will not call them men; men don't eat like that."
— General Mortswain's personal account following the pacification of the Degradant Uprising
Of the various worlds within the Screaming Vortex that exhibit signs of Nurgle's pestilent touch, few are as prominent as the barren and blighted planet of Mire. Here the squalid denizens forage aimlessly amidst endless foetid pools of festering muck and decaying vegetation, their diseased bodies enduring solely due to Nurgle's unnatural ministrations. Perhaps the most dangerous of these are the so-called Death Priests who prey upon their fellow Mirens in order to perpetuate their disgusting adulation of the Plague God's bountiful corruptions. These feculent warriors are highly prized within the debased warbands of the Screaming Vortex, and many opportunistic slavers exploit their infamous enthusiasm for slaughter by luring these voracious killers off-world with promises of fresh carcasses to consume.
Death Priests of Mire are hardy warriors who feed on the bodies of their victims in order to nourish the parasites, diseases, and other foul poxes that writhe in their bloated guts. They believe these afflictions to be a blessing from the Plague Father. On Mire, they see it as their unholy duty to hunt down the so-called "Pyrions" - clean ones - and devour them. After slaying any foe, though, they usually gorge themselves on every scrap of putrescent sustenance to feed the ravenous diseases that wrack their ghoulish forms.
Death Priests are notorious for the frenetic eagerness with which they devour their victims, often violently ripping the flesh with their bare hands in order to assuage their blasphemous appetites. Afterward, they abandon their kill, content in the knowledge that each ravaged carcass is yet another monument to Nurgle's unending bounty. Such is the path of a Death-Priest, and each is content to endure amidst endless decay and ruin while suckling at the font of corruption as their loathsome afflictions flourish and multiply.
Death Priests are pallid, sickly creatures whose emaciated frames, leprous, bubo-pocked skin, and horrifically distended paunches bear witness to the extent of their physical corruption. Like many of Nurgle's servants, they are coated in filth, both from their own diseases and their mud-covered home world, and their touch often carries with it the risk of lethal infection. Yet despite their deathly appearance, they are incredibly savage killers, eagerly stalking their prey with a feverish intensity and remarkable vigour born both of their devotion to Nurgle and the perpetual, ravenous hunger that festers within them.
Most Death Priests favour blades and other melee weapons, which they then coat in their own rancid filth or smear with the rotting offal of their most recent kills; however, those who abandon the desolation of Mire often become surprisingly adept with a number of other grisly weapons. Yet despite this proficiency for killing, most Death Priests view any weapon that destroys the victim's body with contempt, believing such acts to be anathema to their unholy work. To these vile warriors, manifestations of decay and putrefaction are evidence of Nurgle's approval, and many delight in wallowing amidst the foetid, decomposing corpses of the fallen.
A Death Priest of Mire must be Human.
Characteristic Bonus: +5 Strength, +5 Weapon Skill or Perception, +5 Toughness, +15 Corruption Points, and +7 Infamy.
Starting Skills: Athletics +10, Awareness +10, Common Lore (Mire), Dodge, Parry, Dodge +10 or Parry +10, Forbidden Lore (Psykers) or (Daemonology), Interrogation or Command or Intimidate +10, Intimidate, Linguistics (Miren), Navigate (Surface), Navigate Surface +10 or Scholastic Lore (Occult), Survival, Stealth or Survival +10.
Starting Talents: Ambidextrous or Berserk Charge, Betrayer, Cold Hearted, Combat Sense, Die Hard, Disarm or Takedown, Disturbing Voice or Sound Constitution, Frenzy, Furious Assault or Two Weapon Wielder, Hardy, Jaded, Light Sleeper, Resistance (Fear, Poisons), Street Fighting or Unarmed Warrior, Sure Strike, True Grit, Unshakeable Will, Weapon Training (Primary, SP, Las) and (Bolt) or (Chain).
Starting Traits: Toxic (Corruption Bonus).
Starting Gear: Good Craftsmanship Autogun or Shotgun or Scavenged Bolter, Good Craftsmanship Stub Revolver or Poor Craftsmanship Bolt Pistol, Good Craftsmanship Sword or Common Craftsmanship Chainsword, 2 Magazines for Selected Weapons, Flak Jacket, Melee Attachment for one Selected Weapon.
Contaminated Blades: Death Priests often smear their weapons with the rancid remnants of their recent kills and other putrid sources of decay in order to better spread the vile maladies of their diseased patron. As a Full Action, a Death Priest of Mire may make a Routine (+10) Survival Test to coat his own melee weapons and solid projectiles ammunition in filth from a suitable source. These weapons gain the Toxic (2), Corrosive, or Irradiated (2) Quality for a number of Rounds equal to the Death Priest's Degrees of Success on the Survival Test.
Grotesque Appetite: Once per encounter, as a Full Action, a Death Priest of Mire may consume and desecrate a fresh corpse within reach. When he does so, he gains the Unnatural Toughness (1d5) Trait (or increases the value of this Trait by 1d5 if he already possesses it) until the end of the encounter.
Putrescence Within, Putrescence Without: Death Priests of Mire exude all manner of corruption and filth from the many contagions and parasites that fester within their distended guts. Whenever an enemy strikes the Death Priest with a melee attack, the Death Priest may spend an Infamy Point to destroy the weapon that struck him after the attack is resolved. Whether or not the weapon can later be restored through cleansing, devotion, and sacrifice is left to the GM.
Death Priests of Mire begin play Aligned to Nurgle.
Death Priests of Mire are well suited to life within the Screaming Vortex, often earning a fearsome reputation as vicious and accomplished killers despite their savage origins. For those who survive this transition, the Vortex is an endless and enticing smorgasbord of corrupt sustenance, its every morsel oozing with untapped potential for gangrenous new life.
The following are vile examples of Death Priests whose abhorrent practices rank them among the most revolting of the Vortex's denizens.
The Brood Kine: Long ago, a pack of Death Priests discovered a swarm of Nurglings frolicking inside a disease-infested mud pit while wandering the squalid wastes of Mire. Upon beholding these creatures, they immediately turned on each other, hacking their companions apart in order to entice the Daemons with offerings of rancid meat. The survivors are now hosts for this repugnant clutch of spiteful imps, housing them within their filth-lined bowels in order to ensure their continued sustenance.
Calorracts: Few of the Death Priests that brave the sunken, mouldering swamps of Mire's crumbling cave system ever return, most falling victim to ancient toxins and other foul hazards within that accursed darkness. Those who do emerge are greatly feared among the cannibal lords of Mire, for each is bursting with maladies so potent that only the most blessed of the Plague Lord's servants can survive in their presence. They are nearly impossible to kill, often bearing scores of seemingly debilitating wounds which neither hinder nor heal as they relentlessly stalk their prey with sunken, yellow eyes.
The Slavering Synpestulent: The Corpse Reapers are a terrifying warband within the Screaming Vortex known for their brutal raids and the mounds of dead and mutilated left in their wake. The original members were harvested from Mire by a particularly ruthless pirate warlord who now allows his captive Death Priests free reign over any survivors of their raids in exchange for the skulls of the slain. Meanwhile, the unfortunate captives are compelled to join in a revolting feast that lasts for seven days and nights wherein they are force-fed the putrid remains of their dead and dying comrades. Those who survive this horrific ordeal often elect to join their captors in order to satisfy the peculiar, gnawing hunger that now festers inside them.
"You worship flesh, cultist; savour feeling, pretty flesh. Battle is done. You lay dying, now learning the truth of flesh - from flesh that all comes and all goes, and as the Lord of All demands."
— Garlea, Priornite of Mire
Observing Mire from afar, there is little more to perceive than a mass of white and grey clouds that swirl above a barren brown landscape stretched across the whole of the planet. There are no mountains, seas, or fields of growth; only the occasional plain of flat stone or dismal bog dots the land. The texture of the visible terrain is unnaturally smooth and uniform, perpetually racked by rainfall that is as persistent as it is common, no matter where on the planet you might be. Despite the atmosphere's consistent weather patterns, the entire world is almost devoid of life.
The few sorcerers and hereteks unfortunate enough to find themselves on Mire have developed numerous theories as to why and how the planet came to be so barren; postulations of a travelling Warp vortex, races of elemental xenos, and the machinations of renegade Magos Biologis are among the most popular. The truth of the entire matter of Mire has been shrouded by the passage of time, but artefacts of its history can be found by the ambitious and foolhardy.
The near-constant rainfall here does more than fester rot and infection in the living; the entire world is in a constant cycle of decay. The few sheets of slate rock that dot the planet shift slightly in the least viscous seas of mud, opening air pockets re-sealed millennia ago after the world's tumultuous journey through the Warp and into the Screaming Vortex. The most devoted savants of the damnable Imperium of Man and the greatest heretic scholars know only inklings of Mire's true history, and those that perform their own archaeological expeditions rarely escape the ever-churning subterranean caverns.
Once a lush world filled with super-flora, the jungles of Mire developed pestilence of a potency and infectious nature equalled by no other planet in the galaxy. The venomous swamps and forests bred equally toxic fauna, leaving the smartest (and most dominant) life forms, Mirens, to develop cannibalistic diets, consuming their own dead to survive. With this practice and the natural hazards of the planet, its denizens naturally fell into worship of the Plague Lord to survive the myriad diseases spawned on Mire.
No diplomatic visit was required before Inquisitor Vardask deemed it unworthy of re-integration and called down the order for Exterminatus Extremis. Miren fortune-tellers foresaw the death of their world in the entrails of their victims, brought about by the False Emperor from afar and carried out with the most violent pathogen known to sentient beings; a grand ritual was prepared and all the most devout members of their race gathered in the capital of Virulous to beseech the Plague Father for his protection from their impending doom.
Nurgle saw fit to protect these supplicants. The Ruinous Power briefly manifested near Mire, playfully swatting the Nihilo Ordere from orbit, causing the space flotilla to pull back and withhold most of their firebomb payload, and trusting that the Life-Eater virus would do its job. The Great Corruptor then wrapped his pestilential arms around the devoted in Virulous, absorbing the Life-Eater virus that the Imperium of Man dropped onto Mire. Countless acolytes fell to the diseases that emanated from the Father of Pestilence, their immune systems as incapable of coping with the potency of his decaying form as the few plants that survived salvation at the hands of Nurgle.
As the Ruinous Power's attentions left Mire, the vessel's reactor finally exploded; the proximity to the Plague Father's presence caused the huge energy signature to jump the entire world into the Warp, careening through the Empyrean to eventually land in the Screaming Vortex. Travel through the Immaterium shook the planet's fragile core and released massive pockets of air (many displacing the countless Daemons that now inhabit the planet). These previously trapped gasses mixed with the atmosphere and created a torrential downpour that lasted for decades. The Long Rain cleaned away large slabs of slate dislodged by the quakes, but all of the remaining landmasses were washed away into seas and oceans of mud. Those that survived the cataclysm spread word of the inevitable death to any that brave the below.
Of the original worshippers saved by Nurgle, only one or two million survived the Long Rain, and half as many perished from the final death throes of the Nihilo Ordere. Those that remained have been bred by the Lord of Decay over centuries, the diseases endured by their ancestors hand-selected by the Plague Lord far in advance to ensure that the perfect carrier hosts eventually sire the bloodline. The warlords that take exceptional Mirens, from sage Priornites to savage Death Priests, to serve in their Black Crusades unknowingly carry with them the truest missionaries of the Master of Pestilence, spreading his infectious gospel to the far corners of the galaxy.
The Mirens spread out from Virulous to the isolated slate rocks that provide the planet's only secure ground, carrying samples from the ultra-polluted swamps that survived a brush against their lord's presence in the vain hopes of cultivating an edible resource. Strained to the limits of fatigue and starvation, they settled apart from one another, creating dynasties determined by plagues passed on through generations of cerebral consumption. The strongest Mirens and those naturally gifted by Chaos are privy to this revered bounty of the recent dead, creating a potent new ruling class often steeped in the powers of the Warp: Priornites.
These brain-gorged scions of disease embody the most potent psychic abilities granted by Nurgle and provide the means through which the Great Corruptor brings his agents onto Mire. This intense breeding program and despicable diet has left a genetic flaw designed for the children of the Plague Father aeons ago; every thousandth Miren born to the tribes possesses a superior immune system extremely resistant to disease. These hapless creatures (named "Pyrions" by their progenitors) are ritually sacrificed by Mire's Death Priests, their insides torn asunder and exposed to sacred samples of Nurgle's Rot before they are devoured.
The Daemons of the Master of Pestilence arise from these ritual piles of discarded humanity, fully materialised in all their putrid glory. This blasphemous practice has gone on for centuries and now the Plague Lord's Warp-children wander the endless mud flats of Mire, spreading the few diseases not already shared by the tribes of Mirens that fiercely protect their tumultuous territories.
If it could be said that Mire had a capital, Virulous would be it. Situated in the shelter granted by a massive piece of deck plating that ripped off the Nihilo Ordere as it entered into the atmosphere, the entire settlement lives and dies upon the capricious whim of the Keisari, who is blessed by the Plague God.
The Keisari of Virulous grew fat on the brains of every corpse that fell near his tribe, gorging himself for decades on the neural delights of thousands of Mirens. As the population of his city grew, so did the presence of Daemons on Mire. Now dozens of Plaguebearers, Nurglings, Beasts of Nurgle, and Rot Flies roam outside of the haphazard settlement, ensuring that the collected dead are brought to the Keisari for consumption. The ultra-potent Priornite has come to resemble the Plague Father; a rotting collection of fatty tissue ripe with disease and infections, his incredible psychic powers amplified by the disgusting nutrient paste developed only for his consumption. The valuable brains of any corpses that fall in Virulous are gathered together in a massive vat of peculiar liquids, providing the Keisari with mental nourishment.
Virulous is an especially dangerous place, a world where dog literally eats dog, or where they would if they hadn't long ago been eaten by the mutated string of humanity that calls Mire home. The rare establishment of civilised intent can be found, but most Mirens believe them to be haunted. Ultimately, few ever intend to find themselves on Mire, and fewer still stay any longer than absolutely necessary.
The Keisari knows of nearly all that happens on Mire (which is fairly little), absorbing all the knowledge within the minds of those he consumes. There are scores of rumours that travel to and fro in Virulous (most of them about potential sources of food) but few hold any truth. One that has interested the Keisari for some time is the local legend of a death vault in the collapsing mud caverns a few days' travel from the settlement. If there is any veracity to the tale, a Warp-sustained strain of the Life-Eater Virus is suspended in a bubble of time that has extended its lifespan a billion-fold.
A more troubling rumour has reached the Keisari and he has begun to mobilise and gather the unholy forces at his beck and call to address it. Somewhere far removed from Virulous, a Pyrion survived a regimen of harrowing Nurgle's Rot infections and has become an extremely powerful psyker. While the population shuns and fears this unnaturally clean outcast, the breadth and potency of his psychic powers are the stuff of legend, and it is said that he roams the mud flats of Mire. The Keisari rejoices that one day he will be joined with the Great Corruptor, but is in no hurry to do so, and repulses at the thought of a Pyrion being the means of his end.
Whether or not that bears any truth, there is a great danger that lurks in the endless mud flats which the Keisari is always prepared for. The scores of countless bodies of those who died in the Exterminatus Extremis of Mire suffuse the very soil with bio-matter, and some of their souls linger as well. A Lutomorbus the size of a starship wanders the wastes, crushing Mirens and Daemons alike with its ponderous strides.
Several aspiring Priornites and hundreds of Mirens have died attempting to find the rumoured haven of the Life-Eater virus in a desperate attempt to earn the Keisari's favour and a week's worth of all the food they can eat - their bloated emperor desperately wishes to taste the natural growth of Mire, and will reward anyone that can provide it with these boons and gifts more wicked still.
Recently, the word that travels through Virulous claims that the Pyrion psyker has begun to collect others like himself, and that he plans to sacrifice them all to the Plague Father in a grand ritual that will change the world of Mire forever. The ley lines of the Warp carry portent of this impending rite, and some of the psychic energies from this motley warband are visible from across the expanse of the galaxy to those with a means to perceive them. The end result of the mass sacrifice could be enough to bring this Pyrion, or anyone that manages to take this boon for themselves, to Daemonhood.
Sightings of the titanic Lutomorbus are as infrequent as an eclipse but, should it ever threaten Virulous, the Keisari has a dedicated (and moderately well-fed) selection of Mirens prepared to carry him within the gutted remains of the Nihilo Ordere and down the mile-long caverns he has had excavated within the slate rock beneath it. Should there be any chance that it appears near his settlement, the Keisari will reward any warband capable of subduing or otherwise diverting the monstrosity, perhaps even sharing some of the many heretical (and assuredly inedible) treasures he keeps in this hideaway deep within the slate. Miren hunters, Death Priests, Priornites, and even off-worlders have all been slain seeking this devastating creature.
These gaunt alabaster humanoids have soft skin covered in diseased flesh and infectious growth, their eyes devoid of pupils and consumed by darkness. Sharpened, yellow teeth spit out their mumbling feral language, degrading in quality as the esteem of its speaker increases. Hunched over and little other than bones, their afflicted skin is chitinous and rough, making their taloned hands into effective weapons.
Their tribal societies worship plagues and sickness, honouring those with the most aggressive or violent afflictions. Cannibalism is as fundamental to their culture as disease. When the rare Pyrion or "clean one" is found, if it is identified by a Death Priest, it is immediately slaughtered and consumed (just like all of the other dead on their home planet of Mire). The only part of the bodies of the dead that these voracious warriors do not consume is the brain, a sacred organ reserved only for their elite.
Armour: Dead Tissue (1 All)
Total TB: 4
Skills: Athletics (Strength) +0, Dodge (Ag) +0, Stealth (Ag) +0, Survival (Per) +0.
Talents: Lightning Reflexes, Resistance (Poisons).
Traits: Natural Weapons, Toxic (1), Unnatural Toughness (1).
Weapons: Claws and Teeth (1d10+3 R; Pen 0; Primitive , Toxic ).
Some Mirens are naturally gifted by the Plague Father, developing into psykers. These children are the scions of esteemed bloodlines and gain their abilities from generations of cerebral cannibalism that result in a wide range of encephalitic afflictions. Were it not for this sustained diet of brain matter (especially from their kin) these gifts would come to an end, but there never seems to be a time where a clan of these fearfully respected (and dubiously insane) Mirens is lacking a powerful Priornite.
Every Priornite champions a disease; all have access to Nurgle's Rot, but each carries their particular affliction as a badge of pride and supplication to the Plague Lord. While they might suffer from their sickness while in repose, in battle they are emboldened and empowered by the Great Corruptor, their bodies regenerating as soon as wounds are inflicted upon them.
Armour: Rotting Skin Robes (2 All)
Total TB: 6
Skills: Awareness (Per), Dodge (Ag) +10, Forbidden Lore (Nurgle) (Int) +10, Psyniscience (Per) +10.
Talents: Psy Rating (3), Resistance (Poisons).
Traits: Psyker, Regeneration (1), Toxic (1), Unnatural Toughness (2).
Weapons: Rotmind Rod (1d10+5 I; Pen 3; Force, Toxic (7)).
Psychic Powers: Field of Pestilence, Inviolable Flesh, Nurgle's Rot (see pages 215-216 of the Black Crusade Core Rulebook).
The very soil of Mire is infused with the blood, bones, and brain matter of its populace, congealed instantly into organic slop by the Life-Eater Virus. While travelling through the Immaterium, something congealed the consciousness of the dead Mirens into walking monstrosities that have come to be known as Lutomorbus. These gargantuan creatures rise from the mud flats, their huge bodies formed from countless corpses that form into crude limbs. They walk the surface of the planet from time to time and no scholar yet has been brave or foolish enough to attempt to discover why (and live to tell of it, at least).
Legends tell of Priornites and Death Priests riding on the backs of these massive creatures as they wade into the few battles that mark the history of the dead world, though none are sure how they came to tame or negotiate with such mysterious, morbid beings. These massive amalgamations of the dead are ponderous but truly dangerous, slamming their enormous fists (jutting with multitudes of jagged and broken bones) into the ground with unnatural force. When a target flees or proves too nimble to slam with its limbs, the Lutomorbus flings pieces of its form at them instead; the corpses explode into bone shrapnel upon impact, killing most near wherever it lands. All the while, it wails a baleful moan as it fights or searches for ever more opponents to add to its body.
Total TB: 15
Skills: Awareness (Per) +10, Intimidate (Fel) +30, Logic (Int) +10, Psyniscience (Per).
Talents: Baleful Dirge, Combat Sense, Whirlwind of Death.
Traits: Dark-Sight, Deadly Natural Weapons, Fear 4, From Beyond, Multiple Arms (4), Natural Weapons, Size (7), Regeneration (7), Sonar Sense, Sturdy, The Stuff of Nightmares, Undying, Unnatural Strength (6), Unnatural Toughness (8).
Weapons: Massive fists (Melee; 2d10+14 I; Pen 7; Concussive , Felling ), corpse projectiles (Heavy; 30m; 1d10+14 I; Pen 3; Concussive , Blast , Felling ).
These bulks of festering Daemon-flesh are barely more intelligent than Chaos Spawn, but equally as playful as their diminutive cousins. They ooze across the battlefield, gleefully wrestling the nearest opponent; once they have succumbed to affliction or been crushed to death, the Beast of Nurgle moves to the nearest target to resume its ghastly sport.
Total TB: 12
Skills: Athletics (S), Awareness (Per).
Traits: Crawler, Daemonic (3), Dark Sight, Deadly Natural Weapons, Fear (3), From Beyond, Natural Weapons, Regeneration, Size (6), Spewing Tentacles†, Sturdy, Toxic (2), Trail of Slime††, Unnatural Toughness (5), Warp Instability.
Weapons: Tentacles (Melee; 1d10+5 R; Pen 0; Toxic ).
Daemonic Presence: All enemies within 20 metres of a Beast of Nurgle suffer a -10 penalty to Willpower Tests.
†Spewing Tentacles: Beasts of Nurgle bear a mass of tentacles on their backs. As a Full Action, a Beast of Nurgle can make a Ballistic Skill Test to unleash one of the following effects:
††Trail of Slime: Beasts of Nurgle leave a wake of disgusting slime wherever they walk. Any character who walks through an area so defiled must make a Difficult (-10) Toughness Test or suffer 1d10 Impact Damage (ignoring armour and Toughness Bonus) from the carcinogens in the rotting path.
These pernicious and capricious Daemons erupt from the boils and pustules that pock the fleshy hide of Great Unclean Ones. They caper and dance about the greater Daemons, causing mischief whenever possible, constantly giggling as they play. Their enemies are another matter entirely, and would do well to avoid their sharp claws; those that survive the rake of a Nurgling's talons often find their wounds festering and incurable.
Total TB: 4
Skills: Awareness (Per) +20.
Talents: Swift Attack, Takedown.
Traits: Daemonic (2), Deadly Natural Weapons, Fear (1), From Beyond, Natural Weapons, Swarm, Toxic (3), Warp Instability.
Weapons: Teeth and Claws (1d10+1 R; Pen 4; Toxic ).
Infected Wounds: Whenever a target fails the Toughness Test from the Toxic Quality of a Nurgling's attack, the target also suffers 1d5 Toughness Damage.
The cavalry of Nurgle are one of the fleetest and most dangerous assets of the Great Corruptor's forces. When the call to battle is given, high ranking Plaguebearers and affliction-indulgent Rot Flies undergo a mutual infection that binds their bodies together. They undergo this transformation simultaneously, sharing an intuitive rider-mount persona while gaining additional abilities and protections. They zip through armed conflicts, slashing down foes with Plague Swords while showering the battlefield in disease and pestilence with vile fluids ejected from putrid proboscises.
Total TB: 12
Skills: Awareness (Per) +20, Dodge +20, Psyniscience (Per) +10, Scholastic Lore (Numerology) (Int), Speak Language (Any One, Miren) (Int).
Talents: Crippling Strike.
Traits: Daemonic (5), Dark Sight, Fear (4), Flyer (6), From Beyond, Natural Weapons, Toxic (4), Unnatural Strength (3), Unnatural Toughness (2), Warp Instability.
Weapons: Plague Sword (1d10+11 R; Pen 4; Balanced, Toxic ), Pestilent Proboscis (Ranged; 30m; S/-/-; 1d10+4 I; Pen 2; Pestilent Slime†, Toxic ).
Infected Wounds: Whenever a target fails the Toughness Test from the Toxic Quality of a Plague Drone's attack, the target also suffers 1d5 Toughness Damage.
†Pestilent Slime: When the Plague Drone inflicts Damage (after reductions for armour and Toughness Bonus) with this weapon, the target also suffers 1d10 Toughness Damage.
Daemonic Presence: All enemies within 30 metres of a Plague Drone suffer a -20 penalty to Willpower Tests.
The Daemons of Mire do not entirely disperse when they are destroyed and fragments of their being suffuse the planet's soil. Shortly after the dead world's emergence from the Warp, thousands of Daemons that materialised within the many caverns beneath the surface were crushed to death as the mud-caves resealed themselves in torrential washes of dirt during the Long Rain. These disparate expressions of Nurgle's power congealed, coalescing into Abcellyoth, a true Herald of Nurgle. This collection of Warp-spawned entities has been said to turn into a tempest of vermin that descends onto settlements of Mirens bereft of their Priornite, consuming everything but the slate rock upon which their primitive mud-houses and tents once stood.
A scion of disease, this monstrous mass of vermin floats across the battlefield, sewing infection on the forces of enemies and allies alike. They wander the mud flats of Mire, doggedly pursuing anyone unlucky enough to cross their paths without a Priornite to assuage the eldritch consciousness. Even the ravenous Mirens choose not to eat a corpse left by Abcellyoth, leaving what little flesh remains to rot away, or else burning it upon a great pyre, before the ash carries more contagion onto the wind.
Total TB: 12
Skills: Awareness (Per) +10, Dodge (Ag) +10, Psyniscience (Per) +10, Scholastic Lore (Numerology) (Int), Speak Language (Miren) (Int).
Talents: Crippling Strike, Swift Attack.
Traits: Daemonic (6), Dark-sight, Fear 4, From Beyond, Natural Weapons, Sickly Influence†, Toxic (4), Unnatural Toughness (2), Unnatural Strength (2), Warp Instability.
Weapons: Claws and Teeth (1d10+7 R; Pen 5; Tearing, Toxic ), Daemonic Vomit (Pistol; 77m; 2d10+5 I; Pen 4; Toxic ).
Daemonic Presence: All enemies within 20 metres of Abcellyoth suffer a -20 penalty to Willpower Tests.
Cloud of Flies: Abcellyoth is composed, of and constantly surrounded by, thick clouds of insects. These noxious vermin provide the Daemon with 7 Armour Points of Cover (which fully regenerate at the beginning of each of its Turns). Abcellyoth can see clearly through this barrier and suffers no penalties from the Cloud of Flies.
Nurgle's Rot: A Herald of Nurgle may call upon the Great Corruptor as a Half Action, manifesting this power as though he was a psyker. As a Daemon, a Herald of Nurgle never rolls on the Perils of the Warp but lacking mortal psyker abilities, it always manifests this ability as a Psy Rating 3 effect that requires a roll on the Table 6-2: Psychic Phenomena (see page 210 of the Black Crusade Core Rulebook). The Herald of Nurgle itself, however, is never subject to any negative effects from such rolls. When activated, this power nullifies the Cloud of Flies ability for one Turn as the vermin all swarm Abcellyoth's target to dispense the Plague Lord's horrid "blessings".
†Sickly Influence: Any creature that is struck by Abcellyoth's Vomit, Nurgle's Rot, or melee attacks must make a Difficult (-10) Toughness Test or suffer a -20 penalty to all Tests to attack Abcellyoth until the end of its next Turn.
The Thanator, an ancient overlord of Mire, is a Priornite of the most advanced age and festering power. His sorcerous abilities are terrifying in combat, and his maggot-worn mind is cunning still, despite the long ages he has ruled.
The Plague God has granted this loyal servant of his with not only eldritch gifts, but also with visions. The Thanator awaits the arrival of several powerful Heretics, on whose quest the Lord of Flies' buzzing, gurgling whispers say he must assist. While the Thanator would never defy his dark god, he demands the respect due him as an ancient and powerful patron of rot on the wretched world of Mire from all who pass through his domain. The Priornite Thanator plays an important role in the adventure contained in this volume, The Heart of the Vortex, guiding the Heretics to new heights of power and new depths of despair...
Armour: Putrid Flesh (1 All)
Total TB: 6
Skills: Awareness (Per) +0, Forbidden Lore (Nurgle) (Int) +20, Psyniscience (Per) +20.
Talents: Psy Rating (5), Resistance (Poisons).
Traits: Psyker, Regeneration (7), Toxic (7), Unnatural Toughness (3).
Weapons: Plague-Cauldron Staff (2d10+5; Pen 5; Decay  [see page 42], Force).
Psychic Powers: All of the Nurgle Psychic Powers (see pages 215-216 of the Black Crusade Core Rulebook).
"Don't think of it as dying and rotting! It is glorious fermentation! That is our purpose, children of the Plaguefather. Your end is countless beginnings and countless ends, circling each other eternally, watched by our blessed patron!"
— Hovit, Lord of the Brackish Depths, before vanishing into the depths of Mire
"Don't you dare say you saw this coming, sorcerer. Your schemes will rot and wither before your eyes, for in the end, the Lord of All claims his toll."
— Death Priest Glug'frath, to Anoxon the Calculating
|Creatures||Beasts of Nurgle; Blight Drones; Foetid Bloat-drones; Great Unclean Ones; Lords of Contagion; Mabrothrax; Malignant Plaguecasters; Noxious Blightbringers; Nurglings; Pestigor; Plaguebearers; Plaguebulls; Plague Hulks; Plague Ogryns; Plague Toads; Plague Towers; Plague Zombies; Poxwalkers; Rot Flies|
|Characters||Abcellyoth; Aynthrexes; Bilerot Vomitflesh; Lothar Bubonicus; Bubonis; Vorxec Calvarius; The Carrier; The Entomancer; Epidemius; Ferrue Fayne; Tormus Fayne; Foulspawn; Nathaniel Garro; Ghulroth; Goresqualor; Gulgoth; Jibberjaw; Ku'gath; Mamon; Adrius Meinloka; Mephidast; Mortarion; Mortius; Necrosius; Nurgle; Pestilaan; Putricifex; Scabeiathrax; Achkovas Spengh; The Thanator; Typhus; Ussax; Plaguestrangler Vilestench; Jonas Whitespore; Ystareth|
|Groups||Apostles of Contagion; Blessed Flesh; Callers of Sorrow; Carnival of Chaos; The Cleaved; Company of Misery; Death Guard; Death Priests; The Grey Death; Inevitable Order; Legio Mortis; Legion of Festering Death; Lords of Decay; Mournful Song; Nurgle's Rotters; Pox Tribes; The Purge; The Reborn; The Scourge; Sorcerer-Kings; The Tainted; Tainted Sons; Vile Savants|
|Things||An'garrach; Balesword; Blight Grenade; Bloodrot Rounds; Bone Maul; Corruption; Cursed Carillon; Death Head; Dolorous Knell; Doomsday Bell; Epidemia; Father of Blades; Foulswarm Grenade; Gem of Nurgle; Horn of Nurgle's Rot; Icon of Despair; Icon of Seeping Decay; Manreaper; Palanquin; Pandemic Staff; Pestilaan Light Cruiser; Pestilent Flail; Plague Banner; Plaguebringer; Plague Cauldron; Plague Chalice; Plague Claw; Plague Flail; Plague Knife; Plague Sceptre; Plague Skull of Glothila; Plaguesword; Poxwalker Hive; Puscleaver; Scab; Scourge Shells; Staff of Nurgle; TP-III; Undead Heart; War Altar|